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Paper One - Yip 1 Stacey Yip Lester OConnor DOC 3 Section...

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Yip 1 Stacey Yip Lester O’Connor DOC 3: Section A18 26 April 2010 The Dangers of Gender Roles Gender roles are socially constructed and created by what society as a whole views masculinity and femininity as. Regardless of how each is defined in society, stereotypes are inevitably created and fantasies of both are formed. Each society’s definition of masculinity and femininity puts pressure on one to act and perform a certain way, and this pressure only builds up in one’s self. Eventually the pressure is far too great to handle and can cause damage to one’s self-esteem and confidence when the victim cannot meet the standards and expectations to act a certain way. Stereotyped gender roles are dangerous social constructs that can lead to serious consequences if one cannot fulfill the expectations made by such gender roles. In Act Two, Scene Six of David Henry Hwang’s play, M. Butterfly , the main character Monsieur Gallimard cheats on his wife and mistress with another mistress, Renee. He then goes back to Song, feeling more powerful and confident than ever, and demands to see her naked. In this scene, writer Hwang uses intertextuality and character development to show stereotyped gender roles through masculinity and Orientalism, ultimately showing the dangers of socially constructed gender roles and how these stereotypes can lead to dire consequences. Intertextuality is shown through M. Butterfly ’s relation and direct association with Giacomo Puccini’s play Madama Butterfly , and reaffirms the gender roles for the story. According to Professor David Serlin, intertextuality is when cultural texts borrow from or refer to other texts. Hwang’s entire play is based on Madama Butterfly , and he uses references to
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Yip 2 compare and contrast the characters and their gender-specific characteristics to those in Puccini’s play. The main characters in Puccini’s original play are Pinkerton and Butterfly. Pinkerton plays the role of the powerful, confident male, and Butterfly as the docile, submissive female. These roles are reflected in Hwang’s play, where Gallimard transforms into the role of Pinkerton, and Song plays the part of Butterfly. In Act Two, Scene Six, there are several specific references to Puccini’s play. When Gallimard cheats on Song with Renee, he identifies himself with Pinkerton: “I saw Pinkerton and Butterfly, and what she would say if he were unfaithful… nothing…It was her tears and her silence that excited me, every time I visited Renee” (44).
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